The guidelines can vary depending on the individual, but in general 7-9 hours sleep a night- good quality sleep- are required for your body and mind to function at its best. Fatigue is one of the most common triggers for reaching for a caffeinated beverage (which can be loaded with calories), or sweets in the hopes that the sugar fix will give you the energy boost you are craving.
There’s also those pesky hormones involved with appetite, and a lack of sleep not only increases your appetite- making you want to eat bigger portions, more often, and higher sugar/fat/calorie foods- but also suppresses the urge to stop eating once you are full, which leads to overeating without you realising it.
1: Try and limit caffeine consumption in the afternoons so that the quality of your sleep isn’t impacted. 3pm is a nice general cutoff time. Caffeine sources include black tea, coffee, green tea, chocolate, cola drinks, and energy drinks to name a few. Swap them for caffeine free herbal or fruity teas, chamomile can be particularly soothing before bed time.
2: Aim to have a regular bedtime and wakeup time…even on weekends. Now, before you decide I’ve lost my mind, consider this. Sleeping in on weekends resets your body clock, so you are more likely to go to bed later. Sunday night ends up two hours later than usual, and Monday morning that loss of two hours through the night impacts on you all day, and it can take a day or two to get back your body clock bac to where it should be. The aim is to train your body to easily fall asleep at the right time, so you aren’t tossing and turning trying to get to sleep, and so that you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, not bleary eyed. If you need another reason to let go of your weekend sleep ins, consider this- early mornings can be a magical time on a weekend, there’s no traffic, parking is no issue, and you can take the opportunity to get in some fun physical activity before the heat of the day starts to build.
3: Lastly, to help ensure you are drifting off into the land of dreams with ease, having a to-do list that’s completed before bedtime- where you can write down all the stray thoughts that pop into your head to deal with the next day- will prevent you lying wide awake worrying or problem solving. Once it’s on paper, it’s for tomorrow, so now you can relax.